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When a Simple Question Becomes a Knotty Problem—A Zen Story

By Sadhguru Email By Sadhguru
February 2020
When a Simple Question Becomes a Knotty Problem—A Zen Story

Questioner: There is a Zen story that I heard. There were once two neighboring Zen monasteries each with a young novice. Every morning on his way to the market, one boy ran into the other.

“Where are you going?” asked one.

“Wherever the wind blows,” the other responded.

This reply puzzled the first child who went to his master for help. “Tomorrow morning,” the master told him, “when you meet that little fellow, ask him the same question, and then you ask him, ‘What if the wind stopped blowing.’ That will fix him.”

The children met again the following morning.

“Where are you going?” asked the first child.

“Wherever my feet take me,” answered the other.

This again nonplussed the youngster, who took his defeat to the master.

“What if you had no feet?” suggested the master.

The next day the children met a third time.

“Where are you going?” asked the first child.

“To the market,” the other replied.

“Foiled again!”

Sadhguru: Spiritual process is not about coming up with right answers. Spiritual process is about realizing the right way to be.

How we respond to a particular situation essentially depends upon the situation. If we are predetermined in how to handle a situation, then as the situation changes, your reaction will not be in accordance with the situation. Action is always relevant only to the situation in which we exist.

There is no right answer or wrong answer. There is no right action or wrong action. There is only appropriate answer. There is only appropriate action.

Whatever we do, if it is not appropriate to the situation in which we exist, it is meaningless. But the logical mind, a very mundane limited mind, always thinks there is something called “right” and something called “wrong.” There is no right and wrong, there is only appropriateness to life. If you understand the appropriateness of life, you will handle it well. If you do not understand the appropriateness of life, you will come with ready-made answers and ready-made solutions which will always throw you off.

Questioner: Can you give an example of a ready-made answer and ready-made solution?

Sadhguru: This is the essential difference between morality and consciousness. Morality is trying to give you ready-made answers. A mind which is already in a state of conclusion is dead to the realities of life. If it has to be alive, it has to be aware. It should have no conclusions.

When that boy said “wind,” or “feet,” or simply “market,” this boy did not know what to say because he had conclusions in his mind. The essence of spiritual process is just this: you are not concluding, you are only seeking. Seeking is only possible when you have no conclusions. Someone has become a theist, someone has become an atheist—both of them have made conclusions. These conclusions will not lead to truth. These conclusions will only lead to a fight between the two groups or two individuals.

If we have to seek, the first and foremost thing is to be like a mirror to the situation in which you exist, that you are able to grasp the situation for what it is and you are able to act. This also is the basis of all success in the world. Spiritual or material success will happen to you only when you are able to see what is there right now, just the way it is. The moment you have a conclusion in your mind, you cannot see it the way it is. Then you will be completely off the mark.


Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, and visionary, and a prominent spiritual leader. An author, poet, and internationally renowned speaker, Sadhguru is the founder of Isha Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to human wellbeing. (www.isha.sadhguru.org)


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